For Pakistanis, bin Laden death anniversary sparks ... nothing (+video)
Polls show that Pakistanis are ambivalent about the Al Qaeda leader, and view his death as a foreign issue. Religious parties, however, may use anti-US sentiment in upcoming elections.
(Page 2 of 2)
Pakistan ranks 145 out of 187 countries on the UN Development Program's human development index. The organization calculates that about half the country is living in poverty.Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
With the economy stuck in low growth for several years, political observers don't see the bin Laden raid as influencing elections, which could be held as soon as the end of this year.
“Neither the ruling coalition is taking credit for Osama’s killing nor are the religious parties [going to embrace] Al Qaeda in public, because they both know that opposition or support for bin Laden is not going to favor them in elections,” says Mr. Yusufzai.
However, Yusufzai says, religious parties are likely to build on anti-US sentiment and give a tough resistance to secular parties in the ethnically Pashtun areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan provinces, both of which border war-wracked Afghanistan.
Such sentiments have been powerful in the past. A six-party religious alliance, Muttehida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) had rode anti-US sentiments to power in both regions in 2002, but it could not maintain its popularity in 2008 elections due to internal rifts.
“If the religious parties mend their differences, which I believe they will, then they can once again give a tough time to ruling alliance in these two provinces as the people do not seem to be happy with the governance of [the current] ruling alliance,” Yusufzai says.
In Punjab, the country’s most populous and rich province, and in southern Sindh province, Yusufzai doesn’t see religious parties making inroads. Secular and moderate mainstream parties, like the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), and opposition Pakistan Muslim League (N), still manage to hold onto their grip.
Get daily or weekly updates from CSMonitor.com delivered to your inbox. Sign up today.